Day on a plate and exercise regimes with Karina Irby

She’s the fitspo influencer on over 860K Instagram followers that not only runs two incredibly successful businesses (Moana Bikini and Bikini Body Burn) – but also continues to give us body (and booty) inspo posts while still keeping it real. Sounds impossible, right? But then, Karina Irby seems to thrive on making the impossible turn possible.

To get a little idea of how she’s able to accomplish it all, we had a chat to Karina about what her typical week looks like – with a particular focus on her food and fitness regimes…

Psst, we previously had Karina in for one of our Fast 50 interviews. Click here to take a read.

“Food and exercise are really important to me. In fact, I plan my entire day around these two elements as I find if I have the balance of both right, I am more productive and efficient in all aspects of my life, plus, I just generally feel good, inside and out!

Moana Bikini and Bikini Body Burn have grown so much – and so fast, that lately I find my exercise and diet largely revolves around my time in the office. Thankfully, because both businesses and our teams have a huge focus on health and wellness, it’s easy to ensure I still meet my diet and workout goals. That’s not to mention my gym, Starke Fitness, is right next door to work – so I’m quite lucky in that respect!

MORNING
I aim to get up around 6:30am on work days and get moving straight away. After a quick shower and feeding my puppies, my partner and I are off to work. I will grab a coffee on the way – usually a flat white on almond milk – get to work around 7:30, jump on any urgent emails and then it’s across the carpark to start my gym session at 8:00am. I don’t like to eat too much before morning training sessions, but if I am feeling super hungry or lethargic and need a little bit of energy before training, I will have a piece of fruit – bananas are my fave!

I try to train 3-4 times per week and it usually comprises of a mixture of quite intense weights/resistance, high-intensity interval training, and flexibility/mobility. My trainer, Simon from Starke Fitness, calls this the ‘multi-method’ and I find that, in the right combination, I get an amazing, full-body workout that meets all of my fitness and body #goals. Immediately following my workout, I will have a protein shake, which comprises of:

Protein World Slender Blend protein powder (their choc-orange is my favourite flavour at the moment!)
1 x full banana
½ cup of berries (raspberry or blueberry, usually)
1 x cup of ice
1 x tablespoon of chia seeds
2 cups of almond milk

Not only does this fuel my muscles after my workout, but it helps to keep me full, usually until lunch, at least. If I am feeling a little hungry or unsatisfied before lunch, I might jump on UberEats and grab a juice from my favourite local health-food shop which comprises of dragon fruit, banana, apple, strawberries, chia seeds, coconut water, and activated charcoal.

DAYTIME
The majority of my weekdays are spent in at Moana // BBB HQ, either at my desk responding to emails, generating content, managing social media, packing orders, or in meetings. Because I’m not too active following my gym session, my diet usually comprises of something not too heavy but made up of good ingredients that help to continue fuelling my body after my workout. Some of my favourite lunches at the moment are: salad sandwiches on sourdough, quinoa salad bowls, or simple veggie sticks with hummus. The Bikini Body Burn Team just recently put together a goal-based nutrition guide titled ‘EAT: Easy As That’ – which incorporates these recipes.

If I am feeling a little lazy or under-prepared, I’ll sometimes jump on UberEats and grab a chicken burrito bowl, zucchini sweet corn fritters, chicken breast with sweet potato and coleslaw, or something else that takes my fancy and won’t make me feel too guilty. A lot of people give UberEats a bad rap – but the Gold Coast has a vast array of amazing, healthy restaurants that use the service, so it’s easy to be ‘good’ while also eating ‘fast’ food… thankfully!

I do have a huge sweet-tooth (more on that later!), so that 3pm sugar craving is all too real for me. With this in mind, Protein World make these amazing Slender Bars that taste incredible but are also high in protein and packed with natural ingredients – they help to curb that sugar craving without the added guilt! My fave is the brand-new Smores flavour.

NIGHTIME

Dinner is my favourite meal of the day. I’m always looking forward to a nice, healthy, hearty dinner throughout the day and I love knowing I am coming home to make a delicious meal with my partner. We enjoy spending the time together and cooking / preparing a yummy dinner! Some of our absolute favourites at the moment are: butter chicken, chicken and salad tacos, prawn laksa, slow-cooked beef stroganoff, baked fish with salad, and sweet potato nachos. Again, the Bikini Body Burn Nutrition Guide, EAT: Easy As That incorporates these recipes (and a lot more!) To curb my after-dinner sugar cravings, I usually finish the night with a cup of camomile tea – I love tea!

Basically, with my weekday meals – from breakfast to lunch to dinner – the goal is to eat clean, protein-rich foods, low in sugars, to ensure my diet complements my training.

WEEKENDS + TREATS
Weekends are definitely quite different to weekdays – in all aspects. My ideal day on a weekend goes a little something like this: a little sleep-in, taking my puppies for a walk on the beach with my partner with a coffee from our favourite local coffee shop, heading back down to the beach for a swim in the ocean and a lay in the sun while my partner surfs, afternoon snacks and movie on the couch, heading out for dinner with friends or a nice night in cooking a yummy dinner… and repeat!

Thankfully, if the weather is nice, a lot of our weekends get to look like this. I am a big advocate of trying to separate the work-week from my private time so I actually feel rested and revitalised and ready to tackle Monday! That said, I am constantly on social media managing both businesses – it’s just about finding the right ‘balance’.

While I don’t set aside time to ‘train’ on the weekends as I do through the week, I still try to be active each day – it might just be that morning walk on the beach. If I am feeling like I need a little bit extra, I will go for an afternoon run on the beach or do a few rounds of boxing with my partner in our little home gym.

With regards to diet, I am definitely not as strict on myself on the weekend as I am through the week. Thankfully Protein World have some AMAZING pancake mix that is definitely a go-to for a weekend morning breakfast – without too much guilt… not to mention their Baking Collection for some sneaky afternoon sweets! Lunches and dinners are usually quite similar to through the week, but slightly less structured.

My partner and I usually select one of the days on the weekend as a ‘treat day’ and we’ll head out for dinner and dessert. There’s an AMAZING Japanese Izakaya restaurant on the Gold Coast – Etsu – that is my absolute favourite! But we’re also not averse to walking down to the local Surf Club and grabbing a chicken parmy! Dessert faves are Max Brenner or a new dessert bar in Broadbeach called Cowch – basically anything that includes waffles and chocolate!

I think it’s really important to set aside at least one meal a week to be a ‘treat’ to reward yourself for your hard work maintaining a good diet. There’s definitely nothing wrong with a sweet treat here and there! Everything in balance and moderation.”

All images: Karina Irby

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